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Javonte Williams’ tackle-breaking ability will break defenders’ spirits

Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports talked with Broncos Country Tonight on Tuesday, noting his favorite pick for Denver was the second-round leapfrog to get running back Javonte WIlliams.

North Carolina State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports joined Broncos Country Tonight Tuesday to break down his thoughts on the Broncos’ Draft. As an NFL writer living in Chicago, you’d probably think he loved that the Broncos passed on Justin Fields so the Bears could get the young quarterback.

But that was actually his least-favorite pick for Denver (though he certainly noticed a new level of NFL excitement in Chicago thanks to that pick/non-pick by George Paton).

And it’s not so much that he didn’t like the Patrick Surtain II choice as much as he doesn’t know why Denver would pass on a quarterback, which was why he dropped the Broncos to an A- overall for their Draft rather than an A.

“Positional value should enter the equation at some point,” he said, adding that if the Broncos skipped Fields because they believe they have a legit chance to land Aaron Rodgers, then he reserves the right to change the grade. “But obviously Denver upgraded big time at [cornerback] this offseason, and it’s exciting to think what a Vic Fangio defense can be with talent at those cornerback spots.”

Edholm admitted he loves Surtain as a draft choice in general, he just didn’t think it might have been the best one for a team likely needing an upgrade at quarterback.

“Had Fields been the pick I would have loved it,” he added. “I merely ‘liked very much’ what they did with Surtain there and think it was a good choice, just with the idea of ‘do they have their quarterback of the future’ on the roster? That’s the only question.”

Certainly that question is yet to be determined, but where Edholm had zero qualms whatsoever about the Broncos’ Draft was Paton’s trade up from 40 to 35 in the second round to take running back Javonte Williams.

“He’s going to be a fan-favorite with his tackle breaking ability,” Edholm said, adding that he sees Williams as “a poor man’s Nick Chubb,” lacking the “long speed but same low center of gravity, same determined running style.”

It’s also hard not to love Williams’ story. A former linebacker who switched to running back to see some playing time, he had a hard time getting any scholarship offers to play.

Had Larry Fedora not offered Williams a scholarship right after he helped his high school win the state title, the 4.0 GPA student told his mother he was going to quit football, just attend UNC as a biology major, not student-athlete.

But the rest is history, and now the rookie running back is on an NFL roster - and Edholm sees him doing great things in Denver.

“I’d like to see him get more reliable as a pass-catcher,” Edholm said, “but for the time-being, he can serve the first- and second-down duty extremely well. He’s a pro back all day long because of his bulk and toughness and tackle-breaking ability.”

In his post-Draft write-up, Edholm referred to Paton’s trade up as “inspired.”

Vaulting over the Dolphins to land Williams was an inspired move. We had him No. 25 overall on our board and expect him to supplant Melvin Gordon as the top back there at some point. He’s a tackle-breaking bowling ball who will get the fans fired up and put the offense in good downs and distances ...Overall, he profiles as a lead back for a team that needed more balance.

Bonus material

To round out the segment, Ryan Edwards asked Edholm where he thought the Broncos would end up playing linebacker Baron Browning - on the inside or the edge?

While Edwards watched Browning play mostly edge at the senior bowl, the Broncos could use an off-ball inside linebacker, so there’s question whether they train him in a hybrid mode - something that didn’t work so well with Justin Hollins - or put him out at edge.

“I could see him working inside and being effective, but I could also see him working off the edge and working too,” Edholm said, before admitting it was actually a tough question. “He wouldn’t be traditional 3-4 pass rusher-type, but I wouldn’t say he couldn’t rush the passer.”

Poll

Where would you play Browning?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Inside (where Steve Atwater wants him)
    (657 votes)
  • 7%
    Outside (where Ryan Edwards likes him)
    (62 votes)
  • 11%
    Hybrid (where Justin Hollins has some words)
    (91 votes)
810 votes total Vote Now